Hendrikje Nienborg, M.D., Ph.D.


Visual Decision Making Section


Building 49, Room 2A50,
49 Convent Dr,
Bethesda, MD-20892



Research Topics

As primates, humans strongly rely on vision to guide behavior. We often need to make sense of a wealth of visual information under variable conditions, in novel environments, varying behavioral or cognitive states and to accomplish different tasks. The research in our laboratory aims to help uncover how processing in the brain supports this flexibility for visually guided decision-making. Our lab uses computational, behavioral, pharmacological, optogenetic, large-scale electrophysiological, and, through collaboration, machine learning approaches to address the questions driving our research: how are cognitive and sensory signals integrated in the visual cortex? how do non-visual context, such as motivation, behavioral state or learning, and the involved neuromodulatory circuits influence the encoding of the incoming visual signals? how are these combined signals used to guide behavior in healthy mammalian brains? Answering these questions is aimed at improving our understanding of how these mechanisms fail in psychiatric and neurological diseases.


Dr. Hendrikje Nienborg received her medical and doctoral degrees from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, interrupted by a Master in Neuroscience from the University of Oxford, UK. She conducted postdoctoral work at the National Eye Institute and at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, before leading her own research group at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. She joined the NEI as an investigator in the fall of 2019. She is also a NIH Distinguished Scholar. Her research received funding from a K99/R00 award from the NEI, the Kavli foundation, a starting grant from the European Research Council and the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Selected Publications

  1. Quinn KR, Seillier L, Butts DA, Nienborg H. Decision-related feedback in visual cortex lacks spatial selectivity. Nat Commun. 2021;12(1):4473.
  2. Macke JH, Nienborg H. Choice (-history) correlations in sensory cortex: cause or consequence? Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2019;58:148-154.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Thursday, November 23, 2023